Women and Education in South Korea - A Special Discussion

by Cyril Reyes, 30/08/2019

The KOTESOL International Conference, taking place between October 12-13 at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, will hold a special discussion on women and education in South Korea.

We live in a time, that with a few unfortunate exceptions, most nations uphold a woman’s place in education, both as a teacher and a student. Only the most reactionary would argue otherwise.

And yet it is no secret that not so long ago, women didn’t have that right, or many rights to begin with. Before the 20th century, women were not allowed to vote; they were not allowed to hold positions of public office; and, in some cases, some were not even allowed to study.

Although significant progress has been made towards gender parity, the playing field is still far from equal. For example, a recent study in the United Kingdom revealed that many academic papers are still written by men, which found only a slight increase of female representation in major journals. In Korea, despite the gender equality in education, the professional world remains patriarchal, and many Korean women suffer the effects of gender discrimination today. 

As a student of history, I often see history as a text; a document of a time passed, rather than a story told by people who want to shape the future. This October you can hear from Kyungsook, Yeum Boyoung, Lee Sung Nam Ryoo about their struggles and achievements, both as educators and citizens. Their stories are not relevant only to the past: for their words frame the present conditions of Korean women. Collectively, their voices can and should guide the future of Korean education.

For people who attend this year’s conference, they will have an opportunity to participate in a discussion rooted in lived experience, authenticity and the trials of social justice. Anyone who attends this talk will be wiser after joining.

Save money by registering for the KOTESOL International Conference by September 30. In addition to the featured panels on women’s leadership, there will be a special fundraiser, KOTESOL Gives Back, for the Korea Unwed Mothers' Families Association (KUMFA) and Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR).

For more information on the KOTESOL International Conference, click here.

About the Author: After studying English and Philosophy, Cyril Reyes moved to South Korea where he has been teaching EFL for ten years. Currently, an assistant professor at Woosong University, Cyril Reyes’ research interests are in political theory, social justice and literacy education. 

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